You must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the sole exception of submissions by the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST, and by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), and Vietnam Education Fund (VEF).
If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the admissions office apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu.
Fee payment must accompany the online application.
In the Academic History section of your online application, you must list and upload unofficial transcripts for all colleges and universities you have attended for at least one term, regardless of the number of credits received. This includes any summer program(s), study abroad program(s), or transfer coursework (regardless of the number of credits received or whether these credits were transferred to your home institution) including any additional mark sheets, official translations, or degree certificates for international transcripts as needed.
Please note that applicants are required to submit grades for all coursework completed at the time they complete their application. Applicants who are currently enrolled in coursework and who submit transcripts with in-progress coursework for admissions consideration (official WES for international and unofficial for domestic) must provide an updated unofficial transcript showing the grades for that completed semester’s coursework as soon as one becomes available.
For Domestic Institutions
For each institution attended, you must provide an electronic transcript directly from the institution to transcripts [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu. If your prior institution does not offer electronic transcript transmission, you must write to transcripts [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu with the link to your prior U.S. institution’s webpage concerning transcript orders to confirm that paper is the only option and obtain permission to submit a paper transcript.
If a paper transcript is the only option, it must be sent directly from the institution to Columbia, and not delivered or forwarded by you. Please have the institution send the approved paper transcript to:
Office of Admissions
School of Professional Studies
203 Lewisohn Hall
2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119
New York, NY 10027-6902
For International Institutions
If any of your post-secondary coursework is from an institution outside of the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all international post-secondary coursework (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation. The official WES evaluation is required for your application to be reviewed for admission consideration.
When you submit a completed WES course-by-course evaluation for an international institution, we will review and verify its contents. If the WES evaluation meets our requirements, we will not require a separate official transcript from that school. If your academic study is in progress, you will be required to provide an updated WES evaluation prior to enrollment if you are admitted to the program.
Applicants who have completed 18 credits or less abroad may submit an unofficial transcript for admissions consideration. If admitted, the applicant must submit an official transcript directly from the institution. WES is not required.
Instructions for using WES
WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all international post-secondary coursework and credentials. Please select the WES ICAP course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course-levels) and request to have WES send your evaluation electronically to Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. The school can be found by searching Columbia University and then selecting the School of Professional Studies.
WES evaluations will be reviewed, and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies.
Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Student Conduct and Community Standards. Applicants would not be entitled to request any refund of the application fee, enrollment deposit, or tuition in the case that the official transcript deviates from the unofficial.
Please upload your résumé or CV. Please be sure to include all relevant work experience, professional organizations, or activities that would be relevant to evaluating your candidacy for admission.
Letters of recommendation must be written by current or former supervisors or by faculty members with whom you have studied in the classroom, who can assess your academic work, intellectual ability, academic potential for graduate work, address your suitability for the program and your ability to commit to the rigorous curriculum. If you own your own business and are your own supervisor, you may select a client as your recommender. Personal references are not appropriate. All applicants are required to submit at least one academic reference unless that applicant received a bachelor’s degree more than 5 years prior to the date of the application. Applicants who received a bachelor’s degree more than 5 years prior to the date of the application are strongly encouraged, but not required, to submit an academic reference. If you are unable to comply with the recommendation requirement, please contact apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu for assistance.
Important Policies Related to Recommendations:
- Under no circumstances should you upload a letter on behalf of a recommender. Any person who writes a letter of recommendation must submit that letter themselves through the application system.
- All letters must be uploaded by the recommender directly to the application system. Letters of recommendation may not be sent via email, nor may paper letters be sent via postal mail.
- Letters of recommendation must be written by current or former supervisors or by faculty members with whom you have studied, who can assess your academic work, intellectual ability, academic potential for graduate work, address your suitability for the program and your ability to commit to the rigorous curriculum. If you own your own business and are your own supervisor, you may select a client as your recommender. Personal references are not appropriate.
- You are required to submit at least one academic reference, unless you received a bachelor’s degree more than 5 years prior to the date of the application. Applicants who received a bachelor's degree more than 5 years prior to the date of the application are strongly encouraged, but not required, to submit an academic reference. If you are unable to comply with the recommendation requirement, please contact apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu for assistance.
- Please note that an academic reference must be from a professor or faculty member at your degree-granting institution who can speak to your academic ability in for-credit coursework. References from instructors for the following are not acceptable: not-for-credit programs, education companies, workshops, or trainings. Academic advisors are not acceptable.
- Please note that a professional reference must be from a supervisor or manager who can speak to your performance as a full-time employee, part-time employee, or intern employed at their organization. If you own your own business or are your own supervisor, you may select a client or peer within your organization as your recommender. Recommendations from professional mentors, or project advisors, and references of a personal nature are not acceptable.
- You must enter the institutional or professional email address of your recommender in the application system. References submitted from personal or anonymous email accounts (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, 123.com, 163.com, qq.com etc.) will be subject to additional review and may result in your application being considered ineligible for admission.
- If the current supervisor, former supervisor, or faculty member writing a letter of recommendation for you is a family member, this MUST be disclosed in the letter of recommendation. You must also request two additional letters of recommendation from non-family members, for a total of three letters of recommendation with your application. If the affiliation is not disclosed OR you lack two additional non-familial letters of recommendation, you will be considered ineligible for admission. Please email apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu to inquire about your specific situation.
- Under the guidelines of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), all letters of recommendation are confidential during the admissions process, even if you have not waived your right to view them. This policy applies to both domestic and international applicants. If you did not waive your right to see one or more of the letters, you may view them only after you are enrolled in Columbia SPS. Students who do not receive an offer of admission, or those admitted who do not enroll, are not permitted access to the letters at any time. A complete explanation of the FERPA policy can be found here.
Share These Five Things With Your Recommenders
- Tell your recommender the name of the program you are applying to and the specific information they should address in their letter of recommendation (see Program of Study section).
- They will be asked to complete a brief evaluation form within the application system and upload a letter of recommendation on letterhead (whenever possible). Both components are necessary to fulfill the requirement and must be provided within the application system. We will not accept letters sent via email or post mail.
- Share our email address with them (apply [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu) so they can look out for the notification and add it to their address book or list of contacts to ensure that the message is routed to their inbox.
- They should expect and comply with outreach from Re Vera Services, a third party verification provider, who will reach out to them via email to confirm that they supplied the recommendation.
- Share the timeline for when you need the recommendation.
Important Tips About Recommendations
- You should request letters of recommendation from your recommenders as early as possible and be sure to provide your recommender with the information below.
- Track the status of your recommendation submissions within the application system on the Applicant Status page. To avoid any delay in the review of your materials, we urge you to verify that all your letters have been submitted by the time you submit your application, and re-notify your recommender through the application system if they are missing.
- Columbia will use an outside verification vendor to verify all submitted letters of recommendation. You will be asked to authorize the vendor to contact your recommenders and must do so before your admissions decision will be released. Specific instructions will be provided after submission of your application.
- You may submit your application even if all of your letters have not yet been received, but your application will not be considered complete until the letters have arrived. In addition, you will be notified via email when a recommendation has been submitted.
Why are you pursuing the Columbia University Strategic Communication Program, and how does it relate to your career goals?
Describe the values that guided you through a personal or professional challenge you recently encountered.
After you have submitted your application and fee, you will be required to submit a 1-minute video essay. You will be given time to create test videos to ensure that your system is working properly. When you are ready, you will be given a randomly selected prompt for which you will have one minute to prepare and one minute to record a response. You will not be able to re-record your video. Please note that the video essay response should be your own thoughts and should not be rehearsed or prepared beforehand.
This information is required, with two exceptions:
- If you have already earned a graduate degree (such as a Master's degree, MBA or PhD) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, GRE scores are not required.
- Applicants with five or more years of postgraduate work experience can request a waiver for this requirement by emailing communications [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu with a current resume.
When submitting test scores with your application, please note that we require official test scores before your application can be reviewed.
- For complete information regarding the GRE, go to www.gre.org. School report code: 3602.
- For complete information regarding the GMAT, go to www.mba.com/exams/gmat. To send your scores, please choose “Columbia University - School of Professional Studies” as the recipient.
- GRE and GMAT scores are considered valid for five years after your test date.
This may be required.
If your first or native language is not English, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS Academic unless both of the following are true:
- the language of instruction of your undergraduate degree conferring institution is English, and
- and you completed your entire undergraduate degree in English.
Applicant total scores must meet the Columbia SPS minimum requirement of 100 (TOEFL iBT) or 7.0 (IELTS Academic) to be admissible. You will be required to enter your test scores or your anticipated testing date within the online application, and official test score reports will be required for your application to be considered complete and ready for admission review. TOEFL and IELTS Academic scores are valid for two years after your test date. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program.
- To submit TOEFL iBT scores: Visit www.ets.org and send your official score to our school code 2594. Please note: we do not accept TOEFL best scores.
- To submit IELTS scores: Please include your TRF number on the English Language Requirements section of the application. Alternatively, you can also send us your official score through your testing center.
Applicants whose primary language is not English may be required to complete an intensive course with the American Language Program (ALP) prior to beginning their studies in the degree program as a condition for admission.
Applicants may also be asked to complete an interview using a video conferencing tool.
International students are responsible for ensuring they have read and understand the University’s student visa application eligibility and requirements. Please note that it is not permissible to enroll while in B-1/B-2 status. Since the program offers a full-time study option, international students enrolled in a full-time course load—registered for at least 12 points of credit-bearing courses a term—are eligible for a student visa.
Eligible international students who wish to apply for a student visa should do so immediately after they have received their letter of admission to Columbia University. This should be done by completing the Application for Visa Certificate (AVC). Applicants should be aware that after admission into a program it may take up to four weeks to receive the documents needed from Columbia to obtain a student visa, so please plan accordingly.
International students who require a student visa to study at Columbia are required to pay an International Services fee. See Tuition and Fees for more information.
You can find the online application for visa certificate by clicking here: http://isso.columbia.edu/. While you are not permitted to submit the application until you have gained admission, we strongly encourage you to read the instructional information provided.
For questions about individual cases, please contact:
International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)
isso [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu